An Editorial by Managing Editor, Gene Turnbow and Senior Editor, PK
Could Sony Be Pulling a Fast One On the Patent Office And Its Competitors? We Think So…
This story caused a few choice words to be bandied about the office in regards to Sony and patent trolling, which is all the rage with some corporations these days.
Patent trolling is a term coined in the mid 1990′s, which more commonly refers to companies of any size filing usually very expensive yet frivolous lawsuits against other companies over patent infringement. Normally a company filing a lawsuit for patent infringement is not a big deal, companies have the right to protect their creations, but some companies have gone so far to make this part of their business model. They either look for technology and make some flimsy claim over it for violating one of their patents, or buy up patents in bulk from failing or bankrupt companies and then try to sue others for infringing on the newly purchased patents.
We caught wind of this patent application by Sony regarding online worlds, and our first thought was patent trolling. Back in 2010, Sony filed a patent application for what it calls: COORDINATING REAL-WORLD GATHERINGS TO PROMOTE ONLINE COMMUNITY. This idea is little more than a marketing scheme that involves promising special online and offline rewards for participating in real-world meet ups of users of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs or MMORPGs). If you’ve been using the internet for the past 10 years or more, you’ll know that isn’t the most novel idea. Even before the deluge of online worlds such as World Of Warcraft, Eve Online, Second Life, et cetera, companies have been using websites and other digital promotions to encourage large events that provided awards for participation.
So what is it that Sony is trying to patent, exactly?